The Taming Of The Shrew Analysis

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Plato argued that comedy blends pain with pleasure. How do you respond to this view in reference to The Taming of the Shrew? Has Shakespeare crafted The Taming of the Shrew so that the audience feels both emotions?

During The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare has used pleasure and pain in order to tell the story of Petruchio and Katherina’s courtship. This is problematic for modern day audiences, as they do not find the courtship methods that Petruchio employs to woo Katherina particularly comical. However, it could be argued that Shakespeare crafted The Taming of the Shrew precisely for this reason, to feature his views on patriarchy and to make the audience see what was happening through a new perspective. The Elizabethan audience would have been shocked at the methods used in order to achieve the taming, even though it was well within a man’s right to discipline his wife if she was deemed unfit. From the very beginning of The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare indicates that this play will not follow traditional rules of decorum, and that it is intended to both give pleasure and cause pain in order to make both Elizabethan and modern audiences take note of his underlying message.

Due to the patriarchal society of the Elizabethan era, women were expected to succumb to men and follow their orders. Shakespeare created Katherina in order to challenge Elizabethan society’s view that a dominant woman was a symptom of disorder . She has little respect for men and speaks bluntly A prime example of this is when she tells Hortensio that she will, “Use you like a fool.” Katherina employs the use of mockery, violence and a rhyming couplet in order to indicate her disdain of Hortensio. The simile also serves to demonstrate that she does not...

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...Katherina as his property .

In conclusion, Plato argued that comedy blends pain with pleasure and Shakespeare has blended these two elements in order to challenge the Elizabethan audience’s view of women. The Elizabethan audience would have been able to see this by the fact that Petruchio is not serious about the taming because he does not use physical violence against Katherina. However, modern audiences would view this very differently as Petruchio resorts to psychological torture, which affects Katherina much more. The play is clearly a comedy as the characters are one-dimensional and are mostly static, meaning that the play was designed to be unrealistic. However, there is a definite element of cruelty that runs throughout the play that is used in order to make both modern and Elizabethan audiences take notice in order to challenge society’s treatment of women.

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